Monday, April 20, 2009

.: Fifth lesson :.

Done a test.

New Teacher:: What is your name?
Me:: Hajar.
New Teacher:: Hajar? *scribbles my name in Arabic at the whiteboard* Hajar?
Me:: Yeah. *does he have a problem with my name?* My name is Hajar.
New Teacher:: It is Haajar. :)
Me:: Haajar. :)
New Teacher:: *:) starts explaining to the class* Haajar is a very very old Egyptian name...

Since kindergarten, I had grasped the idea that people are bound to mispronounce my name. I’ll introduce myself as Haajar, but they’ll end up with Hajar, Aja, Ja, and to cut this short, they just never call me Haajar. I figured that it must have been agonizing for these people; therefore I localized my name to suit their pronunciation to plain ole Hajar.

Took just about 19 years of my life till an outsider eventually got it right whereby the only ones that made justice to it are my Middle Eastern friends. As on that day, I wasn’t focused on my Arabic class, I had somehow rather neglected the fact that my new teacher is a Middle Easterner. I only snapped out of my trance when he accentuated the “Haa”. Nevertheless, the blame can’t be placed entirely on me as he sporadically slips in Malay words in the lessons; resulting to the off track moments.

My previous teacher *the one that picked on me, and still does when he has the time* is now occupied with the level-2 students, so the new teacher stands-in. If I associate my previous teacher as Santa Claus, sis dubs the new teacher as the BFG [Big Friendly Giant]. *coughs ... what are the likelihoods eh? coughs*

He is extremely particular in pronunciation.

New Teacher:: Quiet brothers. Let the sister speak. :)
Me:: --- Uttered an Arabic word.
New Teacher:: No no no. You need to put your tongue out.
Me:: I did.
New Teacher:: You did? But I don’t see it. :)
Me:: I did. *awkward, awkward moments*
New Teacher:: Ok ok. Then say it again. :)
Me:: --- Arabic word, take 2.
New Teacher:: Try to do this. *starts making a hissing sound*
Me:: --- Did a pathetic attempt at it. Sounded like an intersection of an asthmatic attack, and a pup whimpering for mercy. One of the gags of the day for the class.
New Teacher:: LoL~ No no. You have to put your tongue out, leave a little space to allow the wind to come out between your tongue and your teeth. :)
Me:: I did. I can’t do it. *more of, I won’t do it, but why risk an argument or explanation?*
Sis:: Put your tongue out.
Me:: I can’t. :(
New Teacher:: Ok ok. You’ll practice at home ok.:)

Couple of hours after reaching home.

Sis:: Mum, little sister refused to stick her tongue out when the new teacher wanted her to pronounce the words.
Me:: I did! The tip of my tongue was out.
Sis:: You have to stick it out more. Like this! I stuck out my tongue when he asked me.
Me:: That is just rude. Mum always say we’re not supposed to stick out our tongues. It is disrespectful and he’s a teacher. Even if the culture permits it or the language requires it … I will not condone it in the presence of people. Period.
Mum:: :)

Dang! I miss Santa.

10.55am Malaysian Time


Unknown said...

I love this. All the best Hajar. My Arabic teacher said that I have a good Arabic pronunciation but the not so good part is I still can't speak Arabic after 6 months. Only a few words, really sad.

lala said...

LOL you're so cute!! i'd feel shy if someone asked me that, esp. infront of the whole class but that's just me. it's cool you and your sis share the class!

Hajar Alwi said...

Kakchik :: When I was learning the Qur'an, the teacher said I had a good pronunciation too. My problem is, I'm soft-spoken so sometimes people have problems in grasping the first syllable. I noticed that the new teacher always get the class to quieten down whenever it's my turn, and he will walk over to me just to hear my pronunciations, bending over as if I'm a 5 year old. It is that bad, and I feel sorry that he has to do that.

Alhamdulillah, I am able to absorb the knowledge learnt, but I expect to upgrade myself tremendously within the next 5 weeks, Insha'Allah. :)

And if I were you, I'd give myself a 2nd chance at it. Who knows, this time around you might speak as fluent as a native speaker? ^^

M.J. :: Cute eh? And I wasn't even trying. :P Anyway, my shyness somehow melts away when I'm keen on learning something. If you ask me to re-enact the exact scene in public for fun, I wouldn't be as compliant. :) Yeah, it is cool! We share lots of laughs together. ^^

van qif said...


let me guess, u r trying to say a word starts with alphabet "tha"...i wonder what is arabic words begin with "tha"..any example??...not only wind go out but a few saliva also...

nadia said...

I know I shouldn't laugh, but - LOL - this was just too funny! I blame you, Sis - you wrote it so humorously well :D

I am starting to imagine you, the class and your teacher, who's adamant to hear you pronounce the words properly.

PS: I like your sister :)

Hajar Alwi said...

Van Qif :: Wa'alaikumussalam. Yeap, it's ث‎ and the troubled word was thalatha. The odds of that happening is quite high, clearly explains why I refuse to say it. :)

Nadia :: LoL~ By all means, laugh all you want! ^^ Sharing bits of laughter is something I'm rather fond of. :) But they were left disappointed.

PS :: I'll let my sis know. ^^ I expect to receive a major tick-off from her cos' she doesn't know about this post. :P

Umm Omar said...

Oh, growing up in the US, my name was butchered time and time again. It's no fun!

maj said...

guess it's embarassing sometimes..

Hajar Zamzam Ismail said...

Heehee. I'm married to an Arab, and I haven't noticed him going around sticking his tongue out every time he opens it to talk. I wonder what dialect your teacher is using.

Hajar Alwi said...

Umm Omar :: LoL~ The name has been butchered one too many times that I couldn't care less anymore. :)

Brother Maj :: Presumably...

Hajar Zamzam Ismail :: LoL~! That would have been such a sight, wouldn't it? LoL~ My Arab friends don't do that either as native speakers don't have that problem. It's just one of my teacher's way in ensuring we pronounce the words properly; as it should be until we get the grasp of it without having to stick out our tongues. I'm still speculating whether my teacher's dialect is Egyptian or Yemeni.

Mina said...

Lol, that was a funny story sorry to laugh people do the same to my lil sis, they cant seem to prounce Wafaa the right way and end up calling her a boys name haha...

But the whole hissing thing is kinda hard i remember when i was learning arabic i had troubles with the da ta tha sounds lol...

Oh well back to the drawing board.

Ummi's Blog said...

Hi sis..Damn my comment came in too late again..but yeah I echo everyone..This is way too Funny...!! (trying hard to laugh silently as adik is sleeping )

Hijabee said...

Lol, that was a funny post. People mispronounce names all the time and try to convince you that the way they're pronouncing your name is actually the correct one lol.

Hajar Alwi said...

Mina :: Ack~! The poor deary!

Friends in school used to tell me Hajar is a boy's name ... I was like "Whaaat? My name is Haajar you fool! Haajar!". :(

LoL~ I'm quivering for the next lesson...

Ummi's Blog :: :) May this be a proposal for you to teach adik [and the little man] and spare her this embarrassing experience in future. :P

Hijabee :: Yeap. Hijabee scores a huge one there. :) It is painful when I have to be repetitive.